Words That Make Me Feel Less Alone
Whenever I was in need of comfort as a child, my father would ask me, “¿Qué pasó, mi vida?” which means, “What happened, my life?” Like an incantation, these four words made me feel instantly less alone: What is happening to you is happening to me because you are my life. “¿Qué pasó, mi vida?” I now ask my partner when he wakes up with a headache. When he says he’s feeling flat. What is happening to him is happening to me because he, like my family, is my life. — Alexandra Clemente
I have always valued other peoples’ opinions over my own, wanting their approval to confirm that I was on the right path. It is such a blessing, then, to have a partner who couldn’t care less. When we go out, Justin sometimes asks for “just us” photos — selfies that we won’t share on social media. He’s shown me that our love doesn’t need endorsement because we already believe in it. (The irony of publicly sharing our story here is not lost on me.) — Hannah Rousselot
Music in the Woods
Jenny plays music from her MP3 player. Christmas carols in July. Operatic voices fill the woods as robins flutter down and surround her. Jenny stops moving and stares. The robins sing. No words are spoken. Complete contentment in nature. She turns to me and plants an awkward, resolute kiss on my lips. It is only now in her teenage years that she can tolerate touch. I pull my autistic daughter to my breast and feel her love. — Grainne Armstrong
Third Time’s the Charm
I was 58 with two broken marriages. My years spent on Match.com led to so many dates that I met the same woman for coffee twice without realizing it. Surrendering to the absurdity of it all, I changed my profile to say that I was “looking for a woman of incredibly poor judgment.” Christy was game, promising me lots of laughter. We met for a drink. The date lasted six hours, and we knew. Better late, right? No, best late. — Jay McDaniel
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